I Choose – Important Over Urgent
Who do we want to be tomorrow? The answer to that question is dependent upon the choices we make today. Our choices matter. In this series, we’ll take a look at what I believe are the most significant choices we’ll make in life. They’re not about who we’ll marry, or where we’ll live, or what type of work we’ll do, but about those basic choices we all have to make that are core to the values we espouse in life. That is the purpose behind the “I Choose” series. In this week’s message we look at choosing the important over the routine.
Bottom Line: Choosing the important over the urgent determines a lot in life.
Something To Talk About:
Sometimes we wish that there was more time to do the things that are really important to us, but we find ourselves “too busy!” The reality is we actually have time for what we choose to have time for. How you spend your time is a choice. In this week’s sermon, pastor Marty explains how to tell the difference between important tasks and urgent tasks. Urgent is a task that requires immediate attention. It is a task that shouts now. Urgent tasks usually have us operate in a reactive mode. They may cause us to be defensive, hurried, narrowly focused. Important is a task contributed to our long-term mission, our values, our goals. Consider these three things when separating the urgent from the important.
- Create artificial deadlines. Think for a moment what the greatest stressors in your life are today. Maybe it originates from responsibilities at home or work or in some other place. If that is the case, consider creating the strategic tool of artificial deadlines. An artificial deadline is a fake deadline. Here is an example: Your boss wants a report on Thursday, so technically the report is due on that day. But in your mind it is due Wednesday. That report is an important job responsibility so you want to ensure it is not only done, but done early. That way you are not leaving it to the last minute and creating anxiety and stress in your life. You can use the same technique for all the important parts of your life. That way none of the important things in your life are not hanging out there and causing stress. By creating artificial deadlines, we get things done that free us up to do what is even more important.
- Be ruthlessly selective in your yeses: For most people, we either have to learn to say no or to be ruthlessly selective in our yeses. For most people, the barrier to a fruitful life is not a lack of commitment but over commitment. In other words, we need to be incredibly careful and prayerful about what you say yes to. We are busy and sometimes overwhelmed. But business does not necessarily equal productivity or a feeling of fulfillment. In fact, most people instead of adding to your to-do list should start a to-don’t list of things that aren’t that important and we are no longer going to do. The most effective people do not do more, they do more of what matters most. The best and most effective followers of Jesus, they don’t do more and more, more, more, more, they do more of what brings glory to God. If you want to have a more meaningful life, I would encourage you say no to more and yes to more of what matters most.
- Do first what matters most: When you make out your schedule for the coming week, first plot into your schedule what matters the most. Block out the most important things first. Human nature for many of us is that we add more and we add more and we add more and more things to the schedule and crowd out the most important thing. The most important thing is the time you spend with Jesus, not out of duty, but because we need to choose Jesus everyday. I need Him everyday. I need to tell Him everyday I need His word to renew my mind, I need to realign my heart with my priorities. If I’m going to choose what’s most important everyday, I need to seek the One who’s most important everyday first.
- Which word best describes your last few weeks? Relaxed, busy, full, fun, rewarding. Why?
- Read Luke 10:38-40. Do you identify with Mary or Martha? Explain.
- Busyness has become a badge of honor and a cultural value. The truth is, we often feel one step behind, disorganized and overwhelmed. But “busy” just sounds better. Do you agree and why?
- Often what we are doing with our time isn’t bad or wrong, but it can be distracting to us because we let the urgent things crowd out the important things. How do you differentiate between the important and the urgent?
- Name three urgent things you need to do and three important things you need to do. Which are getting more of your time?
- For an important activity that needs more priority, where can you find the additional time?
- The real issue is when we become hurried and we try to control our world and we get out of our relationship with God. How can we seek God’s kingdom first, think long-term and put people first.
- What priorities need to be reordered at this point? How can we this week refocus on what matters most and to do those things first.
Take One Thing Home With You:
When someone tells you they are “too busy” I wonder if it is a reflection of their schedule, or a reflection of your importance of their schedule. It works the same way with our relationship with God. If God is not our priority, it is not a reflection of God, but a reflection of the spot we put God in our schedule and in our priorities. God is the center of the universe and should always be the center of our lives.
Most Christians when establishing a list of priorities, include God, spouse, children, others, job and ministry, howbeit, in different orders. Making a list of priorities doesn’t mean that we neglect the lower things for the upper things. All of these things are things that matter to God and thus should matter to each one of us. The list begins and ends with God. The number one priority in our life should be God. But it should be deeper and more inclusive than that.
Life places before us hundreds of possibilities. And hundreds of choices. Some are important. Many are urgent. But each of us must decide, “What is my choice? What is my reason for living?” In other words, “What priority takes first place in my life?” For the believer, that is Jesus Christ.